Citrus is brilliant at brightening up recipes all year long, but it’s especially nice in the summer. Think tangy marinades for the grill, salad dressings, angel food cupcakes, or use it to keep your guacamole from turning brown. Here are some quick tricks to getting the most from your lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits.

Zest your fruit before juicing

Before I juice I always zest, because the oils in the zest contains concentrated flavor of the fruit without a lot of the sourness (it can keep, covered air-tight in the fridge for a couple days). I never know when I will need some to add pizazz to a dish – for example, stir a little zest into plain old steamed rice and it will transform the

Roll the citrus fruit to loosen juices

rice from bland to exciting. Larger citrus like oranges and grapefruits are usually pretty easy to juice, but rolling a lemon or lime before cutting helps loosen up the fruit, so it releases the juice a little easier. If it still feels

Nuke the fruit to loosen juices

hard when I give it a little squeeze in my hand, I like to throw it in the microwave for a quick zap (about 15-20 seconds on high). Let the fruit cool a minute or two, then slice and squeeze – the juice should release easily. How do you use citrus to liven up your dishes?

Guacamole

Summer entertaining screams guacamole to me. It’s quick and easy to make, and goes great with a cold beer in the hot sun by the pool. Serve it as an appetizer with chips or crudités; as a component of grilled fish or chicken, or slathered over a juicy burger straight off the grill.

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

4 very ripe avocados
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 ripe vine tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1). Slice the avocados in half, remove the pits and slice into a medium size bowl. Add the lime zest and juice immediately (the acid stops the air from turning the avocados brown).

2). Add the garlic, hot sauce and cumin, then smoosh the ingredients together, mixing well while using the back of a fork to mash, keeping a little texture in the mixture.

3). Stir in the red onion, tomato and cilantro, and season to taste.

Serving Suggestions:

For an pretty presentation, I like to serve the guacamole in half an avocado skin surrounded by chips, and/or crudités for the figure conscious. It is also delicious served with grilled fish, chicken, or slathered over burgers.

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